Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that Essex, Norfolk, Sussex, Surrey, Oxfordshire and Hampshire will enter Tier 4 restrictions and that Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Swindon, Isle of Wight, New Forest, Northamptonshire, Cheshire and Warrington will go into Tier 3.
Cornwall and Herefordshire will go into Tier 2 having previously been in Tier 1.
The changes see a number of areas that were in Tier 2 more up two Tiers to Tier 4, including Sussex and Hampshire.
Last Saturday (19 December) hospitality businesses in Bristol were allowed to re-open for eat-in but will have to close on Boxing Day having been open for barely a week.
Relatively little has changed in the North of the country where Coronavirus cases are now much lower than in the South.
The last minute changes are likely to be extremely costly for the industry, with many businesses having had to buy stock for the post-Christmas trading period and New Year's Eve.
Hancock says the dramatic shake-up is down to a new variant of COVID-19 that is “spreading at a dangerous rate”.
Yesterday saw 691 deaths reported and cases have increased by 57% in the past week.
Night Time Industries Association CEO Michael Kill his members are deeply concerned that the continuing rollout of stricter restrictions without a long term strategy and substantial sector specific support from the Government will destroy the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.
“Thousands of businesses and employees have supported the Government's public health campaign against Covid, creating safe, regulated environments for people to socialise," he says. "But any requests for a clear long term strategy or commitment to support our sector to the Government has all but been dismissed.”
“If the Government expects the hardest-hit sectors to continue to support them in its Public Health strategy against Covid, then they must, help these same businesses by compensating them for their losses, and deliver a robust exit strategy to regain industry confidence.”